Starting with the friendships, this story proves that no matter the circumstances you’re under, jealousy and the pressure to win are always finding their way into relationships, Tris, the hero of this story, struggles when her friends become jealous of her success. How is she supposed to react? Does she automatically ditch them and find new friends? Even if you’re not in a futuristic world competing for a small number of spots in your faction you can still relate to jealousy in a relationship and the hurt and pain it brings. I was also blown away by Roth’s capability to capture such a dynamic family unit. The unwavering love that Tris receives with her parents, but also the disappointment her father feels when she decided to leave them. Once Tris is gone she still is trying to gain their approval, even when she knows it doesn’t matter. I love how this played out because, psychologically, most children want their parents approval for the choices they make in life.
2. Complex Characters
Sorry Candor, but the characters in this book do not fit into your system, the characters aren’t black or white. Al is the best example of the complexity of these characters. Is Al a protagonist or antagonist, or is he both? Al is a lovable guy at the beginning, but as he goes through stressful and fearful situations he changes. Even though he tried to hurt Tris and eventually ends his life, I don’t think he was ever a bad guy as much as a good guy who made a mistake. In the same sense you have Jeanine who most consider to be an antagonist, but she fully believes what she is doing is in the best interest of everyone. Obviously, further in the series you question if what she did was right or wrong, but the whole point is that it’s neither. These characters can’t be put into a box, just like real people can’t be put into a box.
3. Tris and Four
4. Realistic Progression in Physical Combat
Finally a movie that shows people training! Sometimes I watch movies and I’m baffled by the fact the hero in the story has never held a gun before and all the sudden they’re hitting target from 100ft away. I love that this book spends a lot of time in training and showing the realistic progression. Tris has problems with the kick when she first begins shooting, she gets her butt kicked when she first beings fighting and she actually gets sore from training. I love the not so pretty side of training. Somehow Roth does a good job of keeping you entertained while not over glorifying all the violence.
5. Even the Hero’s Struggle with Internal Doubts
Tris is not the typical hero, as readers we get the chance to see inside her mind and see her true doubts. Tris is constantly worried about doing the right thing, being the right person, and making her parents proud. She does have a tough exterior, and again the movie was fantastic, but you didn’t get to see the troubles she has finding the balance between being strong and forgiving. She blamed herself after Al’s death. That caused her to reevaluate some of the choices she had made, it is nice to know that even the strongest of people are still questioning their actions.
6. “Everyone is Afraid of Something”
I’m pretty sure this is one of the best quotes from the book. It just makes you think. Roth, giving Four such typical fears like heights and confinement gives the reader more of a connection to this heroic character. As someone who does not like small spaces it makes me feel like I could be as brave as Four. Roth really shows that any person can be brave. She isn’t making this a book about these super humans who are never afraid and can win every fight. These are average people who are working to be brave and trying their best to help their family and friends.
Now there are many other things I love about this series, but honestly I would never be done writing this post if I wrote down every thing I liked about it. Please let me know your favorite parts of the book, or things you didn’t like. I’d love to know your thoughts!